Write a good CV
Your CV is essentially a selling tool. It outlines your skills and experience so that a potential employer can have a quick look at your CV and see how you might perform in a given role. It is an opportunity to present yourself in the best possible way.
Writing an effective CV is one of the most important things you will do in your professional life. It will increase your prospects of getting the job you want! The majority of advertised vacancies ask for a CV, so having one prepared will allow you to respond quickly whenever the ideal job comes along.
How will having a CV help me find a job?
A well prepared and laid out CV should result in interviews which in turn leads to job offers. If properly produced, it will highlight your skills, achievements and work experience in a way that tells you apart from the hundreds of other candidates in the recruitment market. It will make you a serious contender who is worthy for an interview. Recruitment agencies will ask you for a CV so they can submit it to companies who are looking for your skills.
How should I prepare and write my CV?
Regardless of what certain people and books will tell you, there are no universal formats or rules for writing CVs. Fortunately, however, there are useful guidelines that will help you produce a CV that generates results.
Start by writing down notes on your education, experience, skills and any professional or academic organisations you belong to. When remembering your previous employment, don't simply give job descriptions: think through the purpose of each job, the responsibilities you handled and the specific results you achieved.
Write down the details of when you started and finished each job. Take care to avoid unexplained gaps. If you had spells of unemployment, describe what you did with your time - for example, you may have been travelling, working voluntarily or even developing your skills on formal courses.
Adapting your CV for better results ...
Matching your skills and experience to the employer's needs will improve your success in securing an interview. What aspects of your education, experience and skills are most attractive to an employer? A CV must promote your strengths and abilities and demonstrate the benefits you can bring to the employer's organisation. That means tailoring your CV to a specific position wherever possible. It means finding out as much as you can about the company and the requirements of the role. It also means thinking like an employer - What are they looking for? What key factors did they ask for in the job description? How specifically are you suited for this particular role and organisation?
Always be honest and accurate in your information. Often a prospective employer will use your CV as the basis of your interview and for references.
How should I present my CV?
Once you have recognised the key information to be included in your CV - and decided on the most important elements - you need to write and organise your points. Here are several rules of thumb:
- Make your CV simple and as clear as possible. Keep descriptions brief, factual and to the point.
- Your CV should be no longer than two sides in length.
- State clearly the type of work you want and why you are qualified for it.
- Use active verbs that describe your skills, abilities and achievements. For example, "I can contribute/have experience in organising/am trained in..." Use such verbs at the beginning of each sentence (managed, developed, created, co-ordinated, etc.) to make them even more powerful.
- Use a clear and logical format. You could organise your CV by job titles, with the most recent position listed first; or arrange your employment history into sections that highlight key areas of skill and achievement.
Since your personal career history, achievements and academic credentials are unique, the way you organise and express them may be equally unique. Whatever your choice, make sure that you highlight your strongest points. Also use clear headings, simple language and adequate margins and line spacing.